Children of ApolloA collection of short stories about Apollo, his lovers, and his children
Say Love, Too
She was young, she was talented, she was beautiful, and she became one of his favorites despite the fact that they only saw each other thrice in her lifetime. He found her at a nightclub, which isn't all that unusual place for him to stumble upon lovely young ladies. Her voice had lured him in off the street. It was a small, beat-nick, coffee shop of a place with an open mike night and she was singing her heart out. Every body in the room swooned and curved to the lifts and dives of her voice as it spiraled through the club on gentle melodies.
An encore was demanded and she sang again and again, her breath and her body swaying with her music, wrapping her in it. Her smile was so gentle and her auburn summer dress hugged her slender waist and Apollo watched her stomach lift as her diaphragm expanded with each, gentle, music-carrying breath. Her had heard better, in his day, but it had been a recognizable amount of time since Apollo had seen such a singer who produced such sound with such passion and purity. And Apollo did have a weak spot for passion and purity.
They took a break. Apollo had barely noticed that there had been a guitarist accompanying his singer until the gangly youth stood up to get himself a drink. While two jazz musicians played in their place, Apollo convinced the gangly youth to sit out the girl's next performance and allow him to take his place. The boy quickly downed a bit too much alcohol and could not be found by the time Apollo had perused the club manager to ask the young lady to perform once more.
Apollo was on the stage by the time she took it and when she gave him a confused glance, he only smiled back, guitar in hand. He started to pick out a delicate tune and the girl started to sway. Apollo, despite his boyish attitude, knew music and knew it better than any other that ever existed. The young woman became a conduit for his musically ability and words and rhythm flowed from her like water, and he the spring as they enraptured their audience, song after song, until beads of sweat began to line her forehead and her throat began to go dry.
Apollo left the stage. Alas, she was still only a human mortal.
Happily, however, that was not their last encounter. They still had two more to go. It was only later that night that Apollo, dressed as the pretty-boy heart-breaker that he was, encountered her in a dance club with a few of her friends.
She had not been dancing much but was really more socializing with her companions, one being the gangly youth from before looking rather sea-sick in the corner with, who must've been, his date.
Apollo did not go straight for her. Next to Dionysis, Apollo was the life of parties for they always involved his particular expertise, that is, anything having to do with the performing arts - in this case mainly music and dance and a certain degree of charisma and diplomacy. He didn't need to use much of his skill to work the floor, but, being Apollo, he used much more than he needed to until finally she spotted him.
Apollo was enjoying the partnership of several fine ladies when his singer got close enough to acknowledge. His current partners were easy catches, lamb to his slaughter. He enjoyed easy catches, often, and he still had time to indulge in his easier prey if his current mission went array. He wasn't always sure why he bothered pursuing women when so many would throw themselves at his feet once they were drunk and he started dancing, but every once in a while in his immortality, he liked a challenge. There always seemed to be such large gaps between his more meaningful lovers.
She had moved closer with her dancing companions, but she still left Apollo to make a move, which he did and most expertly. He may have the personality of a California surfer stereotype, but he knew how to persuade a dance floor to work with him.
She had her hands pressed against her hips and his eyes followed them as they swayed with her. She smirked at him and took a chance. "You want this?" She asked.
He danced around her, a neat little trick, inspecting her from head to gladiator sandaled foot. "I'm considering it."
She grinned at him, lusciously, and he wiped the sweat that was running down the side of her face as he pulled her closer.
"You're going to have to do better than that if you want to win me over," she hummed as she spun from him, the heat and moisture making her little dress cling tighter.
"I thought I was doing pretty good," the god replied as he caught her hand and twirled her back into him. The rhythm of the base was intoxicating, deep and pulsing. Apollo had chosen it, himself.
"Yes," she breathed when she could, sweeping back her once pin straight chocolate hair that was starting to curl again the heat. "But I'm real hard to win over."
"Right," he hummed back as he flicked his feet, another little trick, his knees almost touching hers again and again, trying to draw her in. "I bet I can do it."
She moved cautiously, but fluidly back a step as he caught her hands, spun her again, and locked her to his chest. She laughed a sigh. "I bet you can't."
"Why?" he replied, spinning her out again and letting her dance for him in her lithe, careless way. "You lesbian?"
She laughed a bit and shook her head so her hair flew about recklessly, flinging droplets of sweat.
"Or," The god put his hands on her hips and propped her on his knee, "has no one done it before?"
Her body was bright from the heat generated and she was shimmering with sweat, but Apollo could feel her turn redder in her embarrassment. Apollo pulled back a moment and looked like he was examining her pelvis, his features alight with disbelief and excitement. "A virgin!?" His exclamation wasn't loud enough to be heard over the drumming beat, but his singer still glanced around nervously, until she saw the boyish excitement on her dance partner's face. He clung tighter to her hips. "A virgin offering." She must've just finished college, the poor girl.
She laughed again, a bubble of laugh, as she allowed herself to sink a bit further into him, "You still want this?"
"Hell, yes, I want this," he exclaimed in reply and his mouth found her lips before she could reply, but he could feel her laugh again and they said little else as the music continued to sound into the night.
The remainder of the evening was spent in the dance club and at a hotel, a rather fancy hotel, but she wasn't paying attention. She was wrapped around Apollo and she wasn't letting go until he released her – and he wasn't going to release her soon. He had considering taking her on the dance floor, but he treated his virgins right. He got them so rarely now-a-days and he figured out very quickly that his singer had been completely honest.
He explored her gently, made her laugh, taught her everything she was willing to learn. He composed poetry for her and whispered it sweetly into her ear. He hummed and sang while he worked and she sang back and Apollo felt he had done her some good when he arose before sunrise the following morning.
Apollo was gathering his clothes when his singer rolled over with the most pleasant of smiles on her face and asked where he was going.
"Sorry, babe," her answered as he button up he pants. "I've gotta go raise the sun."
His singer's eyes followed him as he gathered his things from around the room. "But don't worry," he hummed as he slipped on his belt. "I have honored you greatly by blessing your first time." He smiled to himself as he pulled on his socks. "You'll keep singing and soon you'll find a nice, responsible guy to take care of you and you'll live happily ever after."
"That sounds nice," she grinned with a small, tired sigh, flopped over beautifully on the bed; blankets rumpled and tossed, hair everywhere, silk sheets caressing her bare skin.
Apollo returned her smile and he tosseled her already tossled hair as he learned over to get his coat. "Take care of yourself, K?" His warm hands trace her face and he kissed her three more times between words. "May your life be filled with joy, happiness, and music."
As he started to get up, his singer shot up quickly, took a firm hold of his face and his sun-bleached hair and kissed him, passionately, back. "And love," she breathed, her mouth mere centimeters from his. "Say love, too."
She could feel his boyish grin across her lips. "And love." They shared one, last, deep kiss and then Apollo released her, slipped out the door, and vanished almost without a trace. His singer remained. She wrapped herself up carelessly in the sheets and rolled over. Soon after the sun slowly began to rise as she watched it from the bed.
Everything was different after that night. Her singing was different after that night. She knew what love was and had experienced it, although her version of love was probably different from most other people's version of love. She knew what music was. She had felt it in her hands. She had only known her teacher for one night, but he had given her so much that she could not feel bitterness towards him.
She kept singing. Apollo had said that she would, but now it almost felt like a promise she had to keep. It became her world and her lifeblood. Even after she found out that she was pregnant and that still tiny, precious gift her teacher had given her made it hard to stand or walk or get work, she still kept singing.
She did meet that nice, responsible guy Apollo said that she'd find. She had been picking up toiletries from the corner store when the baby started rolling and kicking and she near doubled over with wooziness and pain. She fell to one knee on the sidewalk.
"Are you alright, miss?" came a voice from above. A young man had stopped and offered her help. She looked up at him, her now short hair curling around her ears. He was nice; a little plain, but strong looking with a little crooked nose, short, neat hair and light brown eyes. He must've been older than her, but until her baby was born, she treated him as her younger.
"I'm alright. It's just the usual nausea," were her first words to him.
"Can I get you anything? Would you like to sit down? There's a coffee shop."
She winced as the baby started to settle. "Tea would be great."
The boy took her bags, helped her up and was quite shocked when he realized she was pregnant, but he wasn't about to withdraw his hospitable offer. He walked her into a little beat-nick coffee shop of a place called Heatherford's with a homely, country sort of feel with all the wood paneling. The boy sat her down at one of the small, round tables next to the counter and then went right behind the counter and started throwing together the first kind of tea he found since he had forgotten to ask her what kind of tea she wanted. She took it without complaint. "You work here?"
"I manage," he replied, moving dirty mugs out of the way. "My pop owns the place. I'm hoping to buy it from him some day." He looked cute and hopeful.
She glanced around, carefully sipping her tea, and spotted the small stage. "You do live music?"
The man, David was his name, had put one of those little aprons on and was clearing the counter. "Hm? Yes, we get live bands."
"Would you hire me?"
Needless to say, David was incredibly reluctant to higher a pregnant lady who he had found collapsed on the street to do anything (not because he didn't think she could do it, but because he wouldn't want to strain her). The singer pushed and persuaded and said she needed work (which she did) and eventually got David to let her sing for him. He was instantly entranced, which comes to no surprise and he instantly hired her. She could only talk him into once a week to start, but she got discounts on coffee. She developed a small, local fan base, but David still wouldn't hire her for more days when she was so pregnant. He had to keep reminding her that she was lucky he was letting her stand up there and sing all night in the first place, seeing as he was as concerned for her as many of her fans were.
"Hey everyone," she laughed into the mike one night on stage. "Don't give David such a hard time about me being up here when I'm pregnant, okay? I twisted his arm. Singing is my life and if David didn't hire me and let me sing for you guys, I don't know what I'd do. I'm very happy, and thankful to David for letting me be up here." She gave her man in the back a bright, sincere smile. "So if you've got a problem concerning me, complain to me, not David, alright?" There was a small murmur among the crowd as they sighed and apologized. "Now, what do you want me to sing next?"
David took very careful care of his singer and his singer was very thankful to have him (and everyone could tell). She wasn't bitter at her baby's daddy, but that didn't make the idea of being a single mom any easier. And singing did tire her out and it was hard to pay the bills, but she did it and she got through it with David's help and the help of all the wonderful people at the coffee shop. They would ask her who the baby's daddy was every once in a while and she would stare out the window and shrug. "I don't know," she'd say with a little smile. "But he was a good man, I think."
When the singer, Danielle was her name, was taking a small break one night in her third trimester and her contractions started going hay-wire and she finally realized that's what they were, David was the first one she called. "David? Baby!" David was in the back, though, so he didn't hear the first few times she called until half the coffee house called for him at the same time. The poor boy launched himself out from the back in fear and alarm. Danielle had a small crowd around her. "David. Baby. Get the car."
After a moment's hesitation and a panicked few moments of running around and tossing the rookie the store keys to lock up and a few cheers from the fans and customers, David got the car around and they were off to the hospital. David stayed with her almost the whole time. He stepped out during the actual birthing, again once to check the store, and another to get some decent food. Danielle's friends came with her overnight bag and a few folks from the coffee shop stopped by. They held a mini, late baby-shower for her when she got back where David proposed (somewhat informally). Barely half a year later they had a small, perfect wedding that started late because Danielle had to stop to feed the baby. Danielle had given birth to a healthy, beautiful baby boy who looked just like his father from the moment he was brought into the world just after Valentines Day.
David's Pop gave him the coffee shop and the young couple ran it together. Danielle got the sing more and her son started singing with her the moment he could and they made a remarkable singing duo. Some of her fans suggested she make a CD, but she wasn't sure she wanted to take her singing that far. She liked singing live for her family and for her friends. Nothing could change that.
Apollo did see his singer a third time. He did not forget. Her voice lured him in off the street as it had the first time with a guitar on his back. She was on the stage serenading the audience, making them love her. Her small boy sat in the front with their friends. Apollo leaned against a poll and just stood there. He didn't pull out his guitar and accompany her this time (although he kind of wanted to). He didn't speak, he didn't cheer, he didn't sing. He just watched and listened to his singer and what he had crafted her into.
Her kid sang with her next and that's when she noticed him, standing in the back and glowing. They performed a breath-taking duet for him, then took a break, received compliments and then went to him. Danielle sat on a table, he small boy in her lap and smiled up at his daddy. "Hello."
"Hey," he grinned as he approached. "You did good."
"Thank you," she grinned back. "I was hoping you'd like it."
Apollo ruffled his son's hair. "Is this my boy?"
"He's your boy."
Apollo stooped a bit to see his face. The boy was quiet, knowing a supernatural presence when he was in one, and almost seemed to purr with his father's hand on his head.
"Good looking kid. Great voice, too. You've got the makings of greatness, here."
The mother laughed. "So I've been told."
"What's his name?"
Danielle combed her boy's hair back. "Jaren Rose."
Apollo tried to turn his laugh into a smirk, but it didn't work very well. "Nice name."
Danielle slid Jaren to the ground to scuttle off to David. "Well, I wanted to name him something after you, but I didn't know who you were so I just went with what I had." She looked a little sad, but not very sad. She would've liked to have named her boy something that would've pleased his father a bit more, but she had nothing to work with except for the music he gave her.
They watched Jaren climb up onto a stool at the counter so David could give him a glass of milk and tell him it was time for bed. Apollo smiled and Danielle smiled wider. She was so proud of them.
"I see you found yourself a man."
"Yes," her face brightened. "A good man, just like you said."
"I said 'nice guy'."
They did not talk much. They had little reason to. Apollo had thought little of her since their last meeting and she had lived her life and raised her baby without him all this time and she would go on to raising her boy without him after he was gone. Nothing had changed, but it was nice to see him for just a moment, and for him to see his boy. Apollo told Danielle about a summer camp she could send his boy to when he got old enough.
"All these years without a word and you come to tell me about a summer camp."
"Yeah, I know. But you'll get it when he's older. You might even thank me."
"I'll let him decide."
Apollo fixed his guitar on his back. "Well, babe." He paused and grinned as she gave him a sarcastic smirk. "May your life be filled with joy, happiness, and music."
His singer's face bloomed with love and affection and serenity. "And love. Say love too."
He grinned his boyish grin and kissed her lightly on the forehead. "And love."
And he left. Apollo vanished from her life; not their boy's but she didn't know that yet. David saw him leave and wrapped his arms around his wife. "Who was that?" Danielle continued to smile serenely. "Baby's daddy. Don't worry. I don't think he's coming back."
David nuzzled his face in her collarbone with a little whine.
"What is it?" Danielle giggled.
"I wanna be baby's daddy."
Danielle couldn't stop giggling. "You are the baby's daddy, though. You raised him."
"I want some of our own, too, though." David continued to whine.
"Fine," Danielle surrendered. "You can have some too."
"Really?" David beamed.
"Yes, really. Now grow up and get me some of that nasty tea that's suppose to help my throat."
Not too many years later, just after her third child had started school, Danielle recorded a CD of original songs with Jaren. They made the whole things themselves with friends at the coffee shop helping design the CD jacket, critiquing the music, and taking pictures. The CDs sold like hotcakes at their little Heatherford's coffee shop, where they were selling them. It had barely been finished when Jaren was old enough to go to the summer camp his father had told them about and everything changed again.